Wax Print Textile, ABC Pattern
Arts of Africa
This contemporary “ABC” fabric is similar to a cloth on an innermost layer in the featured egúngún (see photograph). Colorful patterned cottons like this were first created in Holland to imitate Javanese batiks. Since their nineteenth-century invention, these widely traded textiles have been nicknamed “African print” because of their ubiquity on much of the continent. Known in Nigeria as “wax,” “hollandais,” or “ankara,” such patterned cottons were printed both locally and abroad, with new designs made to African aesthetic preferences. Consumers chose the “ABC” pattern to demonstrate that they valued education. As the Dutch company Vlisco invented the “ABC” pattern in 1920, the egúngún could have been made no earlier than that year for the printed cloth to have been sewn inside it. “ABC” has remained in constant production for nearly a century, as this recent example demonstrates.
Cotton, synthetic dye
Gift of Vlisco B.V.
One of six color variations of a wax print textile in the ABC pattern.
This item is not on view
Vlisco B.V.. Wax Print Textile, ABC Pattern, ca. 2018. Cotton, synthetic dye, 36 × 36 in. (91.4 × 91.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Vlisco B.V., 2019.1.6 (Photo: , 2019.1.6_PS9.jpg)
overall, 2019.1.6_PS9.jpg., 2019
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